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Brexit: MPs reject Theresa May's deal by 149 votes (bbc.com)
83 points by late 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 186 comments





The current BBC headline is "Brexit: MPs reject Theresa May's deal by 149 votes", which is a better summary of the situation.

For a variety of reasons (legal, procedural, and political) MPs can't simply resolve to reject Brexit, and didn't do so today. What they can do is reject the exit deal that May has negotiated.

Some of them have voted to do this because they want a 'softer' Brexit with a closer ongoing relationship with the EU, or no Brexit at all. Others because they think the deal is insufficiently 'hard', as it envisages some kind of ongoing relationship and they'd rather see a clean break and then deal with the consequences.

The upshot is that we leave at the end of the month with no deal unless something happens, there's currently no majority in Parliament for any of the options, and we look like international idiots.


> For a variety of reasons (legal, procedural, and political) MPs can't simply resolve to reject Brexit,

There is no legal reason why ministers cannot reject Brexit; given the role of Parliament in the UK system of government, there is very little that ministers could be legally prevented from deciding, since the current (at whatever time it is you are asking the question) Parliament itself is generally the ultimate authority on what is allowed, so much so that it cannot be bound even by past Parliaments.

There are, as you note, political constraints, particularly the problem of there being no majority for any option.


> There is no legal reason why ministers cannot reject Brexit;

There is, for a revocation of article 50 notice to be legal, Parliament has to pass a motion directing the Government to do so[1].

[1] https://ukandeu.ac.uk/revoking-article-50-after-the-ecjs-rul...


> There is, for a revocation of article 50 notice to be legal, Parliament has to pass a motion directing the Government to do so[1].

We're talking here about what MPs can reject or not, and the fact that Parliament must direct the government before the government doing it is legal is not a legal barrier to MPs taking action on it (the form of which action would be an Act of Parliament directing the government.)


The government controls the timetable, so there's a serious procedural obstacle.

This 6 minute video by CGP Grey explains the different possible relationships with the EU available to the UK, and why the UK has so far rejected all of them ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agZ0xISi40E


I particularly liked his followup on the border options available [0]. They all have issues, with the general choices being "Northern Ireland doesn't actually Brexit", "the UK doesn't actually Brexit" and "Northern Ireland has troubles [1] again, because the UK just broke the Good Friday Agreement [2]". That situation's not looking great.

0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Yv24cM2os 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Friday_Agreement


It kind of glosses over that part of the problem is the EU is pushing for a hard border between the South and the North and the UK doesn't actually want this. The EU has much more to worry about from a porous border than the UK. But it is all kind of irrelevant because the EU has no way of enforcing a border that neither the South or the North want. If the UK stays in some form of relationship they will try to threaten the UK into putting up a border, but if the UK exits hard then they are going to be in the ridiculous position of threatening the Republic of Ireland to put up a wall.

What the North and the South want to do is fundamentally at odds with how the EU works and unless the EU gives the UK a free trade deal which is something the UK would be happy to have it's going to cause lots of problems for the EU. It's kind of weird that the video ignores that the border is a problem for the EU the same way it is a problem for the UK. There is a fundamental symmetry. From the UK perspective I think a lot of people don't care if the porous border undermines trade policy (also, considering how the EU is talking about treating us post-brexit a porous border is going to be seen as a feature rather than a bug) because the Irish issue is more important. However, EU doesn't care as much about the Irish issue and cares more about stuff undermining its perfect union.


There's also the 'smart border' issue.

At the start pro-Brexit politicians were saying the border issues can be resolved to a large or at least good enough extent with technology. Number plate recognition cameras, better IT systems, pre-registration, trusted trader schemes. A bunch of stuff together that'd mean no need for a hard border of the sort of that would set off the IRA blowing people up again.

The EU dumped all over these ideas very publicly, laughed at them, described them as "unicorns", told the UK to get real etc.

Two problems with that attitude:

1. It was a lie and they knew it was a lie. Barnier admitted it would work just a few months ago, after holding the position for years that it wouldn't. France just announced a very similar set of measures to handle the France/UK border. Borders experts had testified that the schemes were workable. The UK doesn't care if there's some leakage anyway so it doesn't even need perfection.

2. It has reinforced the idea in the UK and amongst the population that the EU is willing to go to any lengths to get what it wants. It has literally said to the UK: we insist that the price of leaving us is either terrorism and deaths, or annexation of large chunks of your territory. Entirely reasonable attempts at finding compromise were all rejected with insults and arrogance. This behaviour has not surprisingly infuriated many people, including many members of Parliament.


Welcome to the club! I'm not sure if it's a good club to begin with, but at least the USA isn't alone with its current political status.

Do you personally think that the UK will actually end up leaving the EU in 10 days? If yes, what are the chances of that happening?

I hope not; in addition to negotiating an exit deal, there's also a stack of legislative changes that need to be made before exit (deal or otherwise) which are stacked up and waiting. It's nearly impossible to see how that can be done even partially adequately at this point, so any exit would very likely be (1) with no deal (May's won't fly and there's no chance of negotiating another one this month) and (2) totally ill-prepared.

My guess is an overwhelming (but utterly non-binding) rejection of 'no deal' by Parliament tomorrow, followed by a large majority on Thursday asking for a short-term extension of Article 50 to try to sort something out, followed by the EU saying "a year or nothing", followed by public disagreements, followed by an agreement for an extension of between two months and a year. Nobody actually wants a chaotic exit except a few financiers, and we're doing enough damage to ourselves that I doubt the EU wants to enforce a punishment beating at a cost to their own member states' economies.

As for the final outcome, I'd guess:

* No deal (10%)

* May's deal (10%)

* New (softer) deal (40%)

* Second referendum (40%), with any option possible after that from no Brexit at all to the public saying 'sod you all' and demanding a no deal exit.

But anything's possible at this point; we're off the map and predictions on the process I was much more confident on have already been wrong.


The legislative change issue is an unusual example of vendor lock in. I wonder how much of EU law needs to be done through regulation instead of directives. When it is done through directives it forces governments to pass the legislation so the cost of implementing legislation so the laws don't blow up if you separate from the EU is lower. I guess directives over regulation might not even be popular for governments because they probably don't want to spend time rubber stamping EU legislation.

I also wonder how the EU's legislative arrangements compare to other post-war vassal states. Did Germany and Japan have a legislative mess they needed to clean up when the Allied occupation ended?


I'd broadly agree with you. My crystal ball says a short interim delay to before the EU elections, because at the moment theres no plan to timetable for, with a longer delay for something else.

I think if there were a 2nd referendum, it would be remain, if only because all the old people that voted leave have died off. I don't think it would be by a satisfying large margin though.

That's if we get a referendum though. The Overton window has shifted so for over, MPs might just unite on a soft Brexit.


Is a second referendum really that likely? I feel like the way they're treating it it's a 5% likelihood.

What option do you think is more likely?

Any leave option has the Irish border question to sort (unless we remain in the customs union I suppose), which is pretty intractable, and already causing low-level violence to start up again in Ireland from what I hear.

And surely we won't choose to stay without a referendum.


I don't keep up with British politics much so this is me just taking wild guesses from nowhere but I feel like either they'll delay the exit or they'll exit without a deal. If there is another referendum I just can't see it happening the March 29 deadline.

I think a postponement is pretty likely at this point.

Postponement doesn't solve any problems. The Irish border issue will remain intractable.

And not leaving after all won't happen either, British pride and dreams of Empire can't handle that humiliation.

My money is on the no deal exit, even though that implies the hard border to Ireland.


> Postponement doesn't solve any problems.

It does solve one problem: that otherwise we crash out with no deal by default.

> And not leaving after all won't happen either, British pride and dreams of Empire can't handle that humiliation.

That's not the only force in Britain though. Plenty of people, especially young people, see themselves as European as much as British. And plenty of people are ashamed of the empire too.

> My money is on the no deal exit, even though that implies the hard border to Ireland.

It could happen, but I don't think anybody is keen to see a resurgence in Irish terrorism, which is not unlikely in a No Deal scenario. And this is even ignoring the significant downsides this would have for the British economy.


If there’s enough delay there will be new elections which would be similar to a referendum.

It's not impossible, but probably not. I'd give it maybe a 10% chance. There's a clear majority of MP's who don't want a No Deal scenario. Most likely there will be a postponement of some kind, but probably a short one.

What happens at the end of that period is entirely unclear at this point. Leaving without a deal is still a distinct possibility, but probably not the most likely one. I'd give about even odds to some kind of deal being wrangled, and there being another referendum.

Of course, even another referendum doesn't necessarily resolve things. The vote is likely to be close again.


There's a lot of politicians who have been very happy criticising every "what do we do now" proposal, without having any constructive alternatives. Even a general election wouldn't really help, as it would force MPs to say what they DO actually want, which the majority of them have been avoiding as far as possible.

On a topic this controversial, MPs love being allowed to vote "no" to everything, but hate being forced to commit to anything constructive - anything they say will be unpopular with some of their constituency, and likely lose them votes. It will be very interesting to see what happens as their ability to criticise without offering alternatives gets closer to being taken away.

This is particularly true of Brexit, as significant numbers of both major parties voted for and against it, so neither party can avoid angering lots of people who would normally vote for them no matter what they do.


> The vote is likely to be close again

That depends very much what the question is. The vast majority of those pushing for a 2nd ref want it to be a choice between May's WA and Remain. In which case the majority of Leave voters boycott (because there'd be no Leave option as most people understand it) and Remain wins by a landslide. National support for the WA is down in the noise.

Personally, I think that if you're going to do that you may as well just skip the referendum entirely, declare that the whole thing's cancelled and save everyone a lot of bother.


> Personally, I think that if you're going to do that you may as well just skip the referendum entirely, declare that the whole thing's cancelled and save everyone a lot of bother.

I think it's significantly more democratic to have another vote. Most people thought remain would win the first one, but they didn't. If leave won again, we'd definitely definitely have to leave.

> there'd be no Leave option as most people understand it

I question that there is such a shared understanding of what leave means. Leavers seem pretty split between hard and soft options.


I think a recent poll showed only 12% thought the WA respected the referendum result. Another showed 44% - not a majority but a significant (and rapidly rising) plurality - supporting no-deal. Both were polling the general population, not just leavers.

That obviously doesn't mean that all leavers agree, but enough of them do that a WA-vs-Remain re-ref would be a foregone conclusion.


It’s much more democratic to respect the original vote, no?

How? If people have changed their minds due to how the Brexit negotiations have proceeded, then it is democratic to seek and respect that new opinion? If they haven't, then they can make that clear too.

It would only be undemocratic if there was coercion to vote a certain way in the second referendum. But I don't see that happening.


But when does it end? What if people change their minds again?

If leave won again, we'd definitely definitely have to leave.

Leave already won twice. In the first referendum, and then in the general election called by May in which the Lib Dems ran on a "cancel Brexit" platform and lost most of their votes as a consequence.

What we now see is that many of the politicians who claimed they supported leaving the EU and would work towards implementing Brexit have turned around after winning re-election and announced they had lied, they would work to stop the UK leaving. MPs who said "a second vote would be undemocratic" are now saying "we must have a second vote".

The brutal reality is that there is no difference at this point between Remain as a position, and supporting the formal end of democracy in the UK. If a certain argument wins a referendum and then a general election in which both main parties claimed to support it and then Parliament simply tears up all the manifestos, public statements, conventions and speeches, people will conclude there is no democratic way to ever exit the EU and thus the country has been conquered by a political class that is apparently impossible to remove - because if they are willing to lie about their intentions to win election, how can you be sure you're voting for a "real" Brexit supporter?

If even 1% of the people who are watching their winning votes get torn up stop believing democracy works, and turn to extremism or violence, there could be massive problems for the UK. But the EU as an ideology has a sufficiently powerful grip on most MPs that they are apparently willing to take any risks, do anything at all to ensure its victory.


The original vote was 48% to 52%. Older people (Brexit voters) dying off would kill that advantage.

Polls that I've seen show a narrow remain majority. I don't think any specific leave option would win against it. The last vote unified all Brexit voters, so it's hard to see how a specific Brexit would command more support.


You mean there's only 10% chance than the UK will leave the EU?

That's pretty low!


No, there's only a 10% chance that the UK will leave in 10 days, with no deal. At least, that's how I read nicoburns' answer.

Yep, that's what I meant. Overall chances of leaving the EU I'd put at 50%. Which is really another way of saying I have no clue.

It's just insane that that is a valid question.

I think this just goes to show that maybe the entire Brexit option was not a good one. I mean, why would Theresa May not try and get a good deal - she is trying her level best, powering through defeat after defeat in the house! One could conclude that, perhaps, there just isn't a good deal to be had. Brexiteers seem to have this "it'll be alright on the night" attitude - as if they want to leave without weighing up the pros and cons of both sides - their staunchness confuses me and reminds me of this Charles Bukowski quote:

"The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence."

I can see this going to another referendum soon. May even trigger a general election. Fun times!

Edit: there is an overwhelming belief amongst Brexiteers that a second referendum would be undemocratic. But how can it be? It represents the most up to date public opinion. If they're so confident that it's what the people want, why will it make a difference? If anything, it'll just help quell any uncertainty. What is truly undemocratic is manipulation of the electorate. Manipulation happened on a large scale during the referendum, and there is a fair bit of proof to back up this claim, including blatant lies, social media and other advertising campaigns.


> I mean, why would Theresa May not try and get a good deal

May has two contradictory goals. She doesn't want to really leave the EU - I think absolutely everything about her staff picks, negotiating non-strategy and Cabinet management supports that - but she's a genuine Tory loyalist who needs to maintain enough of a fig-leaf of Leaving that her party doesn't get utterly obliterated by irate voters at the next election. That's a tough needle to thread, and she's completely failed to thread it. She's achieved her first goal by abandoning her second.

> as if they want to leave without weighing up the pros and cons of both sides - their staunchness confuses me

I don't think "staunchness" is quite the word. They want to leave, and they don't see the WA as leaving. (Nor does the general population; I think the last poll showed only 12% thought the WA respected the referendum result.) The talking point being pushed hard by No 10 has been "don't make the perfect the enemy of the good", implying that the ERG etc are blocking the WA because they think, unrealistically, that they can get a harder exit by holding out. That may be true for some. But I think many genuinely do believe that the WA (effectively non-voting membership with no safeguards and no way out) is worse than staying in the EU (as a voting member with the option of going Article 50 again). Many have said so. Some observers may dismiss that as rhetorical, but I don't think it is.


Sorry, for my ignorance - what does WA stand for?

Edit: worked it out - Withdrawal agreement


> "The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence."

I love Bukowski, but this quote should be attributed to Yeats or Russell ...

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/03/04/self-doubt/


Fair enough!

> MPs voted down her deal by 391 to 242 - a smaller defeat than when they rejected it in January.

> The PM said MPs will now get a vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal on 29 March and, if that fails, on whether Brexit should be delayed.

What happens if they vote "No" three times in a row (no deal, no no-deal, no postponement)?

If this wasn't politics I'd say: See if you can simplify this function, bonus points if you can avoid error conditions too:

    func brexit(){
       if(deal){
            exit(deal);
        } else {
            if(!deal) {
                exit(null);
            } else {
                if(postpone){
                    wait(TIME);
                    brexit();
                } else { 
                   throw new handsInTheAir();
                }
            }
        }
    }

I would stress that constitutionally parliament's vote on "no deal" is entirely irrelevant – the currently legal status is that the Treaties will cease applying to the UK on 29 March, regardless of the outcome of that vote. In other words…

  func brexit(){
       if(deal){
            exit(deal);
        } else {
            if(!deal) {
                exit(null);
            } else {
                if(postpone){
                    wait(TIME);
                    brexit();
                } else { 
                   exit(null);
                }
            }
        }
    }
However, this is subject to change. Motions can (and will) be amended.

In practice, the EU seem willing to postpone Brexit to give the UK more time to think, and it seems likely that parliament will vote to do this (which they have the power to do).

I think 'handsInTheAir()' got thrown a while ago; the trouble is that the government's error handler sucks, and so does its parent's (Parliament).

But, by design, exceptions don't automatically propagate from Parliament to its parent (the citizens) so the process is currently wedged in some kind of undefined behaviour. And no-one has the privileges to HUP the job.


The Queen does not have root?

You're quite right, the Queen does have root. But she's not allowed in the server room after That Incident with Charles, one of her predecessors in the job. And it's been so long since her personal credentials were needed that nobody's quite sure where they are...

There actually is a similar flowchart in a linked article. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/08/the-brexit-...

  void choices()
  {
    if(uk_MPs_yes_vote(12_march))
    {
      brexit(29_march[current_deal]);
    }
    else if(uk_MPs_yes_vote(13_march))
    {
      brexit(29_march[no_deal]);
    }
    else if(uk_MPs_yes_vote(14_march))
    {
      if(EU_yes_vote(21_march))
      {
        brexit(extension_date);
      }
    }
    else if(uk_MPs_yes_vote(22_to_29_march))
    {
      brexit(29_march[current_deal]);
    }
    else
    {
      brexit(1/0);
    }
  }

Thanks, that's better than my code. It has a logical flaw though, I think. It says "UK asks for a short extension" and then the EU leaders magically could decide to "No to short, but yes to longer extension". I don't know if this is a serious possibility or just wishful thinking...

Were it not for the coalition's change to fixed term parliaments (something else history can blame Cameron for), any defeat of the scale of these would have brought down the government.

So the smart-arse new junior programmer, Clegg, refactored something he did not understand. The code review by Cameron signed it off to be pushed live.

We now pay the consequences. Repeatedly.


While true: Bicker()

Did it in one line.


tempting


I've said this before so I'll ask this again- I'm an American and I'm entirely ignorant on UK politics. I've followed the headlines and I am still confused why Brexit is happening. It seems no one wants Brexit as it has been suggested by the political leadership of UK, and the majority want to avoid no deal at all.

I do not understand why not call the entire Brexit thing off; why is that political suicide?


The problem was the plebiscite format. It had two options:

. [ ] Remain a member of the European Union

. [ ] Leave the European Union

Do you see the huge honking flashing design flaw here?

No? Let's rephrase this with a little substitution:

. [ ] Continue the known reality

. [ ] Do something else (to be determined later)

There's the problem. The second was a catch-all that cast a huge net encompassing all imagined alternatives. Everything that isn't what is currently now, that's option 2.

That's what won, because it's every imagined alternative tossed in a huge pile. Your Own Personal Favorite Idea is option 2! Hooray!

The problem is that when that has to become concrete it turns out that staying in the EU outweighs any one particular instance of the "leave the EU" reality ... and one of them has to be executed on.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED

The plebiscite should have had detailed, specific scenarios and been structured as follows:

. [ ] Remain in the EU

. [ ] Option 1 (addendum 1)

. [ ] Option 2 (addendum 2)

. [ ] ...

. [ ] Option N (addendum n)

Why? Because that's what would actually be happening, the actual reality that has to be contended with, not just some undefined fantasy.

BUT THIS FAVORS STAYING, ALWAYS

No. Not necessarily. If the Brexiters could offer a real-world, concrete, provable, air-tight demonstrably better alternative instead of amorphous good-feelings then they can persuade the public with this imagined reality instead of relying on a reality imagined.

What shouldn't have been allowed, and why this is a total mess, is an option of amorphous make-believe. Make-believe will always win.


No, what should have happened is a second plebiscite confirming the actual deal negotiated with the EU, with:

(1) Accept deal and exit,

(2) Exit with no deal,

(3) Rescind Article 50

As the options.

Or, the government should just not have used a non-binding referendum on such a complex policy matter as an electoral ploy in the first place and actually governed as elected to do rather than passing the buck.


It occurs to me that this is exactly the question that should be offered. And people should be able to express ranked preferences with the winner needing to get over 50% to avoid the issue around vote splitting.

I assume you mean something like IRV (single winner STV) with a winning threshold over 50%, not over 50% on first place preference.

Yes, this.

Sure, that works too. Anything that resolves the unspecific versus specific problem without introducing further problems suffices.

> It seems no one wants Brexit as it has been suggested by the political leadership of UK, and the majority want to avoid no deal at all.

There's basically two big stumbling blocks:

The first is that there has to be a customs check between either: (1) The EU/Republic of Ireland , (2) ROI and Northern Ireland, or (3) Northern Ireland and Britain (the island).

(1) is unacceptable to the EU. (2) breaks the Good Friday agreement and could reignite violence in Ireland. (3) is unacceptable to the Northern Ireland political party propping up the government.

The second is that from the perspective of the EU, Britain has to get a worse deal by leaving the EU than what they had when they were in it. Otherwise, every other country sees that it's better to be out than in and the EU risks collapse.

These are more or less intractable problems. I'm sure we've all had the experience where an IT project is obviously doomed but nobody wants the responsibility and blame for pulling the plug. That's where Brexit is today.


What happens if there is no customs check at any of those locations?

i.e. each party says "you do it, I won't", and it ends up that no one did?


Then that's not an 'exit'. The EU must treat the UK like any other country (say, Canada or Korea), otherwise all the EU countries will exit as they can get better terms than just staying in the EU. CPG Grey has a great explainer on the impossibility that the UK is in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Yv24cM2os

If you are unaware of the issues with ROI and NI, I'll say that a bit of education is really needed. The history there is very complicated and can't really be boiled down here on HN.

That said, the threat of renewed violence on Ireland is absolutely real and very possible. During The Troubles (lasting ~35 years) there were ~50k casualties in total. The peace is fragile and renewed violence could very possibly result in much higher casualty numbers.

Lives are quite literally on the line.

EDIT: Sometimes pictures are better than words. We can talk about 50k casualties, but seeing some of them is a lot more 'real', at least to me. If you have the inclination, this image gallery does an alright job showing the long and very bloody history of ROI-UK relations during The Troubles: https://allthatsinteresting.com/the-troubles#31


Massive VAT fraud. With no border check you say whatever you want for the value of the goods. Leads to situations where merchants can pocket most of the VAT.

You could have that by agreeing on a free trade deal between the UK and EU, which is what May's Withdrawal Agreemenent wants to do.

The problem is that by using a trade deal the status quo the UK is effectively losing its voice in the EU parliament without gainign anything in exchange. This is unsatisfactory to both the leave and remain camps of the UK parliament.


There’s a widely-held belief that simply calling the whole thing off— or holding a second referendum— would cause outrage and undermine public faith in British democracy (by ‘ignoring the will of the people’, i.e., the referendum result).

As an American I've been confused by this argument against a second referendum. It has for a long time seemed like the best option. If people still want Brexit, they'd vote for it (note that a second vote would only strengthen confidence that Brexit is really what people want). If not, then the will of the people has changed.

It seems like a second referendum would optimally be framed differently than the first, but it seems like the best option as an outsider. The current scenario doesn't seem to be working.

Strange times we all live in.


Well, fellow American, how about this, then: You're in prison, want to get out, and are granted an appeal. If you lose the appeal, that's the end. You stay in prison. But you win the appeal. Not guilty. But instead of allowing you to leave, the prosecutors demand you be tried again. After all, if you really are not guilty, what possible objection could you have to another trial?

Or let's say that I'm President. You are the challenger in the election. If I win, I go on being President. But you win, and I and my friends at powerful agencies and media outlets all agree that, since we are entitled to rule, the election is not valid and has to be overturned by some means. But I'm willing to compromise. Surely even you could have no complaint about just repeating the election. Either that, or we just void the election entirely, which would probably be best for all, I'm sure you'd agree.


That analogy requires a strong reason to see being kept in the EU as a punishment rather than being ejected from it as one, because if you reverse the scenario between guilty and not guilty, well, a new trial based on signficant new information is actually an accepted thing in the US.

The "confusion" was about why anyone would object to just having another vote. The majority of voters voted for "let us out", which is a strong reason why--to those voters--being forced to stay where they don't want to stay is a far better analogy than fear of being forced out.

What happens if, on a re-vote, more of the "Leave" voters changed to "Remain"?

There are strong reasons to see it that way, the Leave campaign was built on them.

With all the brexit challanges, why not have a new referendum to "confirm the will of the people"? It seems doubtful it would pass this time, crisis averted?

Also, doesn't brexit basically guarantee Scottish independence? The Scotts were way more opposed to brexit than the English in the brexit referendum and their most recent independence referendum stated as a condition of the delay until the next independence referendum that the UK's relationship with the EU did not change? Is that right?


With all the brexit challanges, why not have a new referendum to "confirm the will of the people"?

It's unclear whether or not it will be possible to construct majority support in parliament for that at present. There's also the issue of legitimacy; while I don't agree with the view myself, there is concern that a second referendum smacks of an attitude of "you did it wrong the first time, try again". This is the outcome of a badly-designed referendum, which should probably have included a ratification vote.

Also, doesn't brexit basically guarantee Scottish independence?

While I'm a huge Scottish independence fan and would love this to be the case, the reality on the ground is more complex. The case for the previous independence vote in 2014 was based heavily on continued EU membership for both Scotland and the rest of the UK. An unstable, hard-Brexit neighbour will be difficult for Scotland, which is heavily intertwined economically, culturally and politically with the rest of the UK. Brexit probably enhances the emotional case, but doesn't help the practical one. Additionally, due to the constitutional structure of the UK, Scotland cannot hold a legitimate referendum on independence without the consent of the UK parliament – something which is unlikely to be granted any time soon.



So a country called Greece which had been a part of the EU had a severe financial collapse a year or two (2009ish?) after the period when (2007-2008) the US had a subprime mortgage collapse that triggered the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the period that we sometimes call the Great Recession now. This led to a great lack of faith in the value of the EU because it creates some notion from the richer countries, "ew, why do we have to bail them out?" And that perception in turn caused by 2016 a lot of political pressure on the leadership of the UK to seriously consider exiting the EU, as they've always kind of held Europe at arm's length, e.g. by not embracing the Euro.

So this prime minister named David Cameron thought he would squash the whole "let's leave the EU" dissent by revealing it to be a minority position by some clever politicking: he would call a referendum and they would get only 15% of the vote and he could dust his hands and say "well we had this vote and you were wrong and let's stop holding untenable positions here." The problem was that rather than 15% of the vote, Leave carried 52% of the vote. Legally it was not a binding vote, the Parliament is still allowed to do whatever they want. But the Conservative Party that Cameron had led was sincere about "we're going to do whatever the public decides." Due to the complete reversal of his expectations, Cameron resigned as PM and was replaced by May.

May is in a tricky situation because if she holds a second referendum, "really, truly, are we going to leave the EU?" then it looks like her party is just going to keep asking the question until they get the answer they want -- and that is not really democracy. If they just say "eff it we give up, we're not doing this Brexit thing" then they are reneging their earlier promise.

With that said there is now a widespread belief that if they did re-ask the question the majority would say "hell no, remain in the EU, we didn't mobilize with enough urgency because we didn't understand what the country was signing up for in that last vote." If a different party were in power, probably they would have done so by now. But because there is this direct line from Cameron to May, May has been very firm on her belief that they need to go through with Brexit one way or the other.

Because May was so obstinate on this point, there have most recently (Dec 2018, Jan 2019) been some votes of no confidence trying to upset the government and have a new government that might be able to do the actually-popular thing. Those have failed.


> Cameron resigned as PM and was replaced by May.

You missed the part where May called a general election right after sending the official withdrawal notice where she only barely gained a majority giving the Brexit hardliners a lot of additional power. Again based on way too favorable predictions about voters preferences.


It's happening because the people voted for it in a referendum. Calling it off would be seen as ignoring the wishes of their constituency. Their reasons for voting that way in the first place are varied, many UK citizens (and people in other EU member states) don't like the idea of giving up some of their country's autonomy/sovereignty to a central authority they had no part in electing/appointing, and they may disagree with some of the policies imposed on them by that authority.

Brexit is happening because the EU is becoming a political entity and no longer an economic union. The direction was set in 2014 with the election of Juncker that is one of the architects of the Euro.

The government voted itself to have more power without any validation with other countries, this caused a massive push back against the EU is ALL of Europe. Don't forget that France has been revolting for almost three months now.


I take it you're unaware of the treaty of Rome? It's been that way since the start.

As a quick intro – membership of the EU has been a bit of a hot topic in the UK for quite a few years now, and longer in certain circles of the Conservative party. That party made a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on membership as a bit of a concession to help avoid a split in the party. It was generally expected that this would be an easy win for the "remain" group, and there is only minority support among representatives for a Brexit policy in any form.

The problem there is that there are now several groupings of representatives – some of them would like to push forward with a "cliff-edge" style exit, some would like a negotiated but "hard" deal, some would like a very soft "technical Brexit", and others would prefer to remain entirely. The parliament is politically bound by the outcome of the referendum—it would be a damaging move to hold a referendum then not implement the result—but at the same time, there is no consensus on what "Brexit" actually means, so it's not currently possible to construct a majority for any individual plan.

It's not a good situation.


> some of them would like to push forward with a "cliff-edge" style exit

Agrees in Russian


Membership of the EU has been a hot topic before the EU even existed. Ted Heath got us into the EEC without a referendum in 72, and then offered us a vote to remain or leave in 75. The scaremongering about leaving back then was almost exactly the same as it is being presented now.

My opinion is that a deal cannot be negotiated among uneven parties. Right now, the UK can either leave with no deal, or leave on the terms demanded by the EU, with no concessions whatsoever. There is no table for negotiation. It is leave or surrender. Once we leave, we are no longer the begging party asking for concessions, but the roles will be reversed. The EU does not want to lose one of their largest export markets, and will quickly change their mind about a trade deal.


It's a large market for both sides, but Brexit will hurt one much more than the other.

The UK exports ~50% of its goods and services to the EU. The EU exports 8% of it's good and services to the UK. The latter is in absolute terms the larger amount of goods and services, but the former is just a massive portion of total trade to have to suddenly replace or re-negotiate.

Think about it this way: SMB company A has to suddenly replace 50% of its customer base. Enterprise company B has to suddenly replace 8% of it's customers. I know which one I'd rather be!


I have often wondered where this delusional "the EU needs us more than we need them" view comes from and here I have it on display. The EU is not happy with, but perfectly content to accept, the UK leaving. They will not change their mind about a trade deal and in fact will go out of their way to bend the UK leadership over and remind them of their public school days at Eton to prove a point. The fact that so far the UK has _zero_ post-Brexit trade deals and is already feeling the hand of Trump and the US on their neck bending them over should tell you all you need to know about the power dynamics of the UK on the world stage at this moment.

Pointing out the reality of the weak and pathetic position the UK finds itself in is not 'scaremongering', it is simply the first of many wake-up calls the UK will be facing in the near future.


> The fact that so far the UK has _zero_ post-Brexit trade deals

They thought they could simply quickly negotiate trade deals using the existing EU ones as a blueprint. I think they now reached a single digit number of agreements but nothing with a huge trade volume (includes economic superpowers like the Faroe Islands or Liechtenstein and as the list goes on it does only get slightly better).


This all happened because Cameron really misread the room

The default legal position is that Britain leaves the EU on the 29th. With or without a deal.

because if Parliament overturns the people's vote it sets a dangerous precedent.

It was a non-binding referendum. It wouldn't be "overturning" anything.

A delay plus a new vote (now that people are more educated on things) seems like the most democratic way to handle this.


"people didnt vote the way I wanted them to vote, so they must either be uneducated or the process is undemocratic!"

That does seem to happen sometimes in connection with the EU, doesn't it?

But I don't think it quite fits here. The people of the UK voted for an abstract Brexit - one in which everyone could pin their dreams for what it would be. When there is a concrete Brexit plan - the best negotiated deal, hard Brexit, or whatever - when it's no longer something amorphous that you can imagine is whatever you want, but is instead something specific that you can't change, the people do in fact know more. They know what the deal actually is. Letting them ratify the actual deal rather than an abstract one seems quite reasonable to me.


> now that people are more educated on things

What do you mean by this?

Most of the articles I've read and people I've talked with from England have said that immigration and keeping England English was the main concern behind Brexit...have views on non-English immigrants changed?


While these were some of the claims made in favour of Brexit, there were also many wild claims regarding how much money the NHS would get now that the UK didn't need to send money to the EU and similar lies regarding trade deals and how everything would be better once Johnny Foreigner was kicked out. Now people are discovering unpleasant truths like how much of the NHS depended on foreign nurses and doctors and the amount of EU money that was propping up these small Leave-voting villages.

If you want a good laugh you should take a look at some of the claims made by Johnson, Farage, and Gove during the campaign.


"educated" is not the word I would say, I think people are just given the immediate effect and fear without any understanding what it means for long term effects for the country.

1. I have no issue with a Parliament overturning a non-binding referrendum.

2. Why do you expect that the vote will turn out any different? One third of the country wants a hard brexit, one third wants a soft brexit, and one third wants no brexit. There is no way to make even a majority happy. Having another vote will put you right back where you were two years ago.


Well, nobody can be made happy, I agree. Maybe they should go for "least unhappy". Put three options on the ballot - remain, hard Brexit, and May's best deal. None of the three will get a majority. (Brexit might get a majority if you lump May's best deal and hard Brexit together, but as you point out, those aren't really the same thing.)

What do you do when nothing gets a majority? You could go with whatever gets the most votes, but as you said, that leaves the majority unhappy. Instead, on the same ballot, ask everyone what their second choice is. If nothing gets a majority of first place votes, then go with whatever got the most first and second place votes.


I'm not sure where you're getting the numbers that 2/3s of people want Brexit to happen, as I can't find any that do.

Here's some more realistic numbers-

> The survey by polling firm YouGov showed that if a referendum were held immediately, 46 percent would vote to remain, 39 percent would vote to leave, and the rest either did not know, would not vote, or refused to answer the question.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/06/britons-would-now-vote-to-st...

Here's an aggregate of polls that show much stronger support for "stay" than "leave":

https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referen...


If voting should happen twice, can we vote again on our politicians before they cancel our previous vote on leaving the EU? (Who all promised to deliver the result of the vote in the election manifestos)

In terms of "political suicide": It's complicated.

There are lots of MPs who would want nothing more than to scrap Brexit or at least hold a second referendum. However, the situation is similar to what's happening with Trump and the Republican Party in the US: Politicians vote on party lines against their personal beliefs (or the desires of their constituents) simply so the party can hold on to power.

May and the Tories can't backpedal on Brexit because it would, at this point, be political suicide. It would significantly weaken the Conservative Party (the Tories) politically, and pave the way for a Labour government. May and her colleagues would prefer Brexit to losing their power. Of course, May says she sees it as her duty to fulfill the "will of the people" despite the fact that, according to insiders, she doesn't actually believe in Brexit.

What's remarkable is that the Conservative leadership has never been able swing the rhetoric around in their favour. A more cunning politican should have been able to turn David Cameron (who was responsible for setting Brexit in motion in the first place) into a scapegoat as well as point the finger at the Brexit faction for poisoning the well. There's a whole group of politicians, including Boris Johnson, that are now hated by the general public following the revelations about the Leave campaign.

What's also remarkable is how badly Labour has miscalculated the opportunity to gain a huge political momentum by becoming the anti-Brexit party. But its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is an EU skeptic, and hasn't stepped up.


> May and her colleagues would prefer Brexit to losing their power.

That I think is the fundamental problem. It's not unique to May, or even to the UK, either. You see this all the time. Politicians want to win the next election more than they want to do the right thing (or even the right thing according to their own views). But if you can't do what you think should be done, what's the point of having power?


That's not the problem, that's the entire point of democracy. It boggles my mind that such a basic point of civil society is so difficult to understand for so many.

There is no reason to believe MPs can "do the right thing". Their analysis skills are weak, they routinely say things that are factually false, they manipulate, they lie and their numeracy skills are nearly non-existent.

Some examples. Most of them can't even tell you what the probability of flipping two heads in a row is:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19801666

The Shadow Home Secretary, i.e. the woman who is one election victory away from running the police, went on public radio and simply made numbers up off the top of her head for how much money would be spent on the police. Even worse the numbers were absurd, like costing only £300,000 pounds to hire 10,000 police officers:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/diane-abbot-l...

It's clear that Theresa May and most MPs don't even understand the basics of negotiation, like "you must be willing to walk away".

Politicians should absolutely not be doing what they think the right thing is, they are wildly unqualified to decide that. Their job is to do what their voters ask them to do, as faithfully as possible, and nothing else. It's when politicians start to think they know better than their voters that power has corrupted them and the problems really start. That's the root of all dictatorships and the sorts of miseries that have throughout history killed millions of people.


Well, people vote for something and you ignore their democratic vote.

Pretty bad.


Democracy is a process not a single vote.

People voted based on russian-funded lies funnelled through corrupt millionaires like Arron Banks, illegally funded and illegally targetting voters with murky data from the likes of cambridge analytica, using extensive and highly targetted ad campaigns on FB (still going on btw - over £500k spent this week). Among other lies politicians told them that we'd stay in the custons union and havd more money for the nhs, but mostly they played on a fear of immigrants.

Brexit won by a tiny margin on the largest constitutional change since the act of union, but somehow 'the will of the people' at that moment in time is inviolate and can never be questioned.

That's facism, not democracy.


> People voted based on russian-funded lies ...

Well I voted Leave because this is likely to be the last chance for the UK to get out of ever-tighter European political integration. About which we were never consulted before engaging.

In the 1980s I backpacked around Europe and met many wonderful people. But not once did I think that "what we need is an additional layer of federal government to bind us all into one destiny". They were countries of Europe, but beyond trade every country got on with its own affairs. And things seemed to be OK.

The Common Market was a good idea, but things took a more sinister turn in 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty. Who was driving that? Not the common people of Europe as far as I could tell.

To me, Brexit was an opportunity for asking myself: why does the EU exist, why did it supercede the EEC and what is the end-goal? I didn't like any of the answers.


I do think we should avoid talk of 'the common people' because it's impossible to know with any clarity what 'the people' want, and it changes over time. This is why we live in a representative democracies, not direct democracies.

Personally I think the EU is a force for good in the world. It has failings - the parliament does not yet have enough power, and the treatment of Greece was a travesty, but in spite of that it has lead Europe from war, dictatorship and acrimony to peace and prosperity. The end goal is of course a federal state and for the states within that to be subsidiary, and a large free market of work and goods within that area. Sounds good to me compared to the sclerotic British state still fondly grasping at dreams of lost Empire.

If the EU fails, the UK fails with it, regardless of whether we are in or out. If war comes to Europe we will not be able to avoid it. So the independence given by Brexit is an illusion. I find it highly unlikely that the UK will have more influence, more independence ore more power outside the EU, simply because of its size and proximity. So in my view Brexit is a false choice between a dream of independence which cannot truly exist in our global world, and the spectre of an evil federal state dictating our every move. Why not help to build the federal state we'd like to see in the world? If I had to start somewhere building a new state, I certainly wouldn't start with the current UK political system and UK state.


And if the remainers had won with a 'tiny margin' the same argument could be made. It's clear you have an agenda though you don't apply the same arguments on the other side for those whose pockets are well-lined directly by the EU. I do understand that turkeys don't vote for Christmas. As for your comparison with fascism, you need to extend your reading on the subject.

My point was it is very foolish and provides no democratic mandate to vote on such vast changes with a simple majority. Whatever the outcome, it was an extremely bad idea in what is supposed to be a representative democracy. So I think you're agreeing with me there.

You think the EU funded illegal propaganda like that funded via the russian embassy? Got any proof of that? Arron banks is being investigated currently:

https://www.politico.eu/article/arron-banks-investigated-ove...

I believe rhetoric like 'the will of the people' is facist.


You've been downvoted, but this is the core issue preventing a simple solution.

It is legitimately damaging to democracy to have the results of a referendum ignored. That referendum shouldn't have been executed in the manner it was, but we can't ignore the outcome.

The problem is, the practical reality of that vote (as it has worked out) is pretty sketchy, and pleases very few people. So now we have the three immediate options of "no deal" (obviously catastrophic), "negotiated deal" (no political support) and "cancel" (directly opposed to the referendum outcome).

Honestly the only way I see out of it with even a shred of democracy left is to hold a second referendum to ratify the deal.


I agree.

The problem with a second referendum, though, is that the vote is to stay it won't be "the country" changing its mind. The country doesn't have one. If 5 percentage points of the previous 52% change their minds, the 47% that voted (Brexit, Brexit) will feel betrayed, as they will (actually) have been sold out. They were told that their first decision would count, then people-who-were-not-them demanded another vote, then people-who-were-not-them took their victory away.

Of course, those of us who voted (Remain, Remain) will be happy, but this isn't exactly analogous to a general election, where this kind of change-of-result is expected. The referendum was supposed to be a one-off, and 'those people' will have stolen Brexit.

I have a bit of sympathy for this position, but I have a lot more concern for the long-term consequences of reducing trust in the political process even further.


Nobody voted for what is about to happen. Or May’s deal.

That’s the whole issue (apart from putting Brexit up to a 50% referendum in the first place).


The usual suggestion is not to ignore the vote, but to put it back up for a vote. Ask people if, now that they've seen the difficulty of Brexit, they still want to do this. If the people actually want the Brexit that exists in real life, they'll reaffirm. It's still democratic by any reasonable definition of the word.

Having people vote again and again until you get the result you want is like ignoring the vote.

First of all, two votes is not "again and again" in any sense of the phrase. I take your point, but nobody is suggesting referendums without end.

Second of all, bringing something up for a vote more that once is not like ignoring the vote. Rejected proposals are very often brought back up, maybe with some retooling, maybe just in hopes that the passage of time has made them more palatable. For example, Quebec voted on its equivalent of Brexit twice, and though it was a bit of a joke, it wasn't generally viewed as shady.

It is possible to use additional referendums as a stalling tactic, and if you kept doing it forever, you would effectively be ignoring the vote. But again, nobody is suggesting that. Putting it up for another vote now that the public has more information would literally just be democracy.


> I take your point, but nobody is suggesting referendums without end.

Of course not, just until people vote remain!


Well, it's a democracy, they let the people vote, and the people voted in favor of leaving the EU.

It's the same for me as a non-American looking at the whole Trump situation. The people chose him as their president, yet I get the impression (again, I'm an outsider) that very few people like him as a president.


"that very few people like him as a president."

That's not really true if you talk to people. He is also being helped by the fact that the democrats have not much to offer either. I bet almost anybody except Clinton would have won the election.


> The people chose him as their president

Well, he did get almost as many votes as the top vote getter, so that's almost true.


As am American, that's exactly what I thought when I read GP's comment.

The losing side is always more emotional and vocal in politics. The winning side has nothing to prove, except during a re-election. It was that way for Bush, Obama, Trump, and it will be true of the next President.


he lost the popular vote but thanks to the Electoral College won the presidency

Because, of course, he campaigned to the Electoral College (put advertising effort where the most Electoral College votes could be leveraged). Why the Democrats didn't do this is appalling.

> Because, of course, he campaigned to the Electoral College

Regardless of the validity of this argument as to Constitutional legitimacy, it's inapplicable to th claim made upthread which is that “the people chose him as their President”. They did not.


The electoral college determines the presidency, so Trump and Hillary campaigned for the electoral college, and Trump won.

If the popular vote won the presidency, Trump and Hillary would have campaigned for the popular vote, and there's no way of knowing what that outcome would have been.


That's what the mass media, which is skewed to the left, wants you to think. The truth is that his approval rating is doing okay, and it's especially good for republican voters.

> and it's especially good for republican voters.

This is true, but maybe not for the reasons you think. The number of people who self-identify as "Republican" has shrunk considerably over the past few years. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/06/14/trump-owns-...


Republican Party ID is up (at the expense of independents; Democratic ID is the same) from when Trump was elected.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx


Huh! The Brooking's story actually cites this Gallup data. But it's a little out of date. Looks like Republican ID has sprung back up in the last ~6 months. Touché!

It's really noisy poll-to-poll; really, I'd be skeptical of anyone claiming that there is much of a meaningful trend based on it. Pew’s series which separately tracks partisans and leaners might be more useful for spotting trends, but they do take seem to have really recent data public in that series.

Trump's approval rating is really not doing OK. It's mediocre. Not Nixon or GWB-at-the-end-of-his-term bad, but an unbiased observer would not call being down 12 points "OK". https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

Yes, but I think it's perfectly normal given how politics works now. Everything is becoming more polarised.

> I think it's perfectly normal given how politics works now.

Yes, Trump's approval rating is dead average for President’s taking office after the end of Obama’s second term at the same point in their term of office.

But unless you reduce the domain so much that you compare Trump only to himself, it's not perfectly normal.


Albeit, it is slightly stranger in the Trump situation as the majority of voters didn't actually choose him as their president. Not to mention the fact that voter turnout is rather low in the US compared to most other democratic countries.

I believe its very similar to Trump's success. Over the last 20 years with globalization some people have done very well, city dwelling professionals, property owners, those working in technology etc. Many hard working, middle and working class people in rural and industrial areas have suffered - and this got worse after 2008 crisis.

Brexit and Trump are just these people saying they want a big change in direction. I dont think they're sure Brexit and Trump will improve things but at least the city dwelling elite doesn't like it so there must be something good about it.


"It seems no one wants Brexit"

Apart from the 17.4 million majority that voted for it?


The idea that nobody wants Brexit is an false image painted by (predominantly left-wing) mainstream media to try and prevent it from ever happening. There is massive support for Brexit across England and Northern Ireland. Support for remain is largely in Scotland and the the large academic cities in England. The vote results can be seen here:[1]

One trouble with the media is they never leave their echo chambers in these cities and find out what people across the country think. I don't know of anybody in my town who voted Brexit and has changed their mind since. In fact, many who voted to remain have said they would vote to leave in a second referendum, because the contempt that the political elite in Westminster and Brussels have for the result of a democratic vote has been laid bare for all to see.

There is only a majority in favour of renaming in parliament, but as you note, it would be political suicide for them to cut off Brexit, which is why we have this shitshow where they try to stop it by pretending to try and make it happen. ("Brexit in name only")

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/United_K...


Since you're being downvoted: A January 2018 poll [1], showed that many areas, such as the Midlands, were still majority "leave". A recent poll [1] showed that "remain" support has increased significantly, however.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2018/jan...

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/06/britons-would-now-vote-to-st...


I'm a bit confused as to why politicians always bring up ‘ignoring the will of the people’ when it's been shown that ‘the people’ have been lied to on a grand scale and there is evidence that Cambridge Analytica had worked pro-Brexit.

I guess nowadays you cannot convince people with facts anymore. You can only convince them with covert, subliminal ads on their social media feeds.


As recently as one year ago [1], polls indicated that sentiment in favour of Brexit was still strong enough that another referendum might have resulted in another "leave" vote. A more recent poll [2] shows that this is now much less likely, but there's still strong support among a huge portion of the population.

As much as I agree that the Brexit leave campaign was fraudulent and the whole referendum tainted, I don't think it's as clear-cut as you want. At what point do decide a vote that was made through a legal process should be rejected? You can't run the "will of the people" through some kind of legitimacy filter to weed out the ones that have been unduly influenced by political forces.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2018/jan...

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/06/britons-would-now-vote-to-st...


> At what point do decide a vote that was made through a legal process should be rejected?

When it's fundamental premises are shown to be fraudulent. As you said.

Also, don't ignore the fact that the wording of the vote had a big impact. It was `remain` vs. `literally everything else with the only constraint being "not in the EU"`.


I guess nowadays all you have to do is run some Facebook ads and spin up some Twitter bots and that's enough to convince people this whole democracy thing is a sham. Unless of course the people vote for the right result, then all the social engineering and censorship on social media is a-ok

Why do politicians always seem so uncivilized to me?

Both sides of an argument always argue as if they believe the other side is stupid and they know for sure they are right.

That is the biggest stupidity in itself.

Why are there no politicians that spend their time on trying to understand the other side, rather then shouting out their own message? Those would be the ones I would vote. But they simply do not exist.


How would you know that one party understands the other side?

Because they went silent? How would you know one party understands the other side, and continues to talk about their own politics anyway? That would again seem like they are just talking and not understanding each other.


You'd know because they can explain the other side's position in terms that the other side recognizes as accurate, rather than a strawman - and then explain what they believe is mistaken about it.

If you're really right, you shouldn't have to strawman your opponent's position in order to show that you're right.


> You'd know because they can explain the other side's position in terms that the other side recognizes as accurate,

If one side does that, by the public they will be perceived to be talking the points of the other side, again losing out.

The whole point of politics, religion and marketing is to keep talking until the other side gives up. The biggest loudest mouth wins. Not the most understanding one.


It didn't use to be this way, to be sure. The darkest "shade" thrown even thirty years ago was child's play compared to today's vitriolic rhetoric.

I think it has to do with the polarisation (radicalisation?) that has come about because people have been grouping into their own echo-chambers. "The other guy" has moved from being a compatriot who they disagreed with to being an adversary to be conquered. See any political or news sub in /r/ as a principle example of this.


Yeah I despair at this too. One problem a sensible moderate person who can work with people doesn't generate headlines, which means no one knows about them and no one votes for them.

You get someone who "fights for what is right", "takes a stand" and "doesn't back down" you'll get well known and people will vote for you.

Sad state of affairs, I dont know what to do to change it.


The gray fallacy/golden mean problem is real. A "sensible moderate person" frequently, in the terms of those bemoaning the lack of them, privileges "moderate" over "sensible", implicitly wishing that someone would look at "let's eat babies" and "let's not eat babies" and conclude "let's eat some babies."

Most people would not vote for this kind of politician.

This is such classic Dunning Kruger effect. You've never heard of them, therefore they don't exist, yet you won't do basic research necessary to prove your own assumptions wrong. Democracy isn't easy, it's hard. But it's better than anything else we've come up with so far, other than the benevolent dictator model - and good luck with them always being benevolent.

There are quite a lot of such politicians, but they don't have the personality you're criticizing, so they're not visible generally, but in particular not the media which is selling politics as entertainment just like anything else.

Shirley Chisholm? Bet you've never heard of her, which is fine, I don't expect that. You do also have the imagination that she should exist, which is good. But where you fail is your assumption that you are right to conclude they do not exist just because you've never heard of them. So you're stupid and yet you know for sure you're right. You're doing the exact same damn thing you accuse others of. It's blatant hypocrisy, which happens to be very common and you seem to think it's an exception! Of course you have to call that out in order to hold people accountable to a higher standard. It is in fact the thing you call uncivil that causes a chance at civility!

How about Ander Crenshaw? You won't see him on TV and you won't see him shouting. Michael Bennet, is another one you won't see on TV, and the one time in his political career he went on a rant was eviscerating the pure stupidity of a colleague to his face, calling him out with factual evidence of his hypocrisy based on indisputable past action.

I guess you lack the imagination of truly uncivilized behavior that exists today and through most of human history. Dead bodies littering fields, bloating, leaking, bursting. Firing squads. Mass graves. Really, you think politicians are uncivilized? It's a ridiculous comment.

Calling a stupid person stupid is not uncivilized. It's called making an observation. Politics is when you don't do that every time stupidity is displayed.


You have to admire May for being stubborn. I'd have thrown up my hands and said 'OK, you figure it out then. Have fun!'

Is it stubbornness or stupidity? You can't admire her for invoking article 50 without a plan, declaring undeliverable red lines, failing to build bridges with her opponents, and then ignoring the very real constraints of her own making for two years.

Yeah, but she did nominate herself for the job after the vote.

Still, better than Cameron.


I wonder why though, since she voted to stay..? I wouldn't be that excited about carrying out my competitor's plans (unless of course I wanted to sabotage them, which sometimes I wonder if she wanted to do).

I’ve nominated myself for work stuff I really didn’t agree with in the past, it was because I thought I could help said stuff not be a total disaster.

Leading a country through brexit is a hell of a sword to fall on though. :/


I see.

Makes sense I guess :-)


But I do feel she tried too much for too long, and things seems not to be working, perhaps she should let someone else take an attempt at the problem.

I followed the Commons debates during both votes. It's just surreal. It's as if the UK was living in some kind of bubble where just about anything happening outside of it had no existence let alone importance whatsoever. If I were a UK voter I'd be extremely angry.

As an EU citizen I sincerely hope the outcome will be the UK ultimately staying in -- if only because of the outright lies during the referendum and the suspicion of Russian influence in the Leave vote.

On a positive note, May mentioned a People's Vote was an option tonight. Insofar as I'm aware that's a first.


> As an EU citizen I sincerely hope the outcome will be the UK ultimately staying in -- if only because of the outright lies during the referendum and the suspicion of Russian influence in the Leave vote.

What if i told you that crying "b-but the other side lied!" and talking about "russian hackers" do not outweigh a fair, free, democratically held vote? Imagine the vote was vice versa and the right-wing would be crying about unfair campaign ads and Brussel influence, not one person would take them seriously.


> do not outweigh a fair, free, democratically held election

In case it needs reminding, those elections did occur, and May ended up needing to go in bed with the DUP to stay in power.

Edit: ok, I see what you've done with your edit...

> Imagine the vote was vice versa and the right-wing would be crying about unfair campaign ads and Brussel influence, not one person would take them seriously.

Everyone would have correctly raised that it's horse shit, because the EC is fairly transparent in what it does if you bother to take a look.

The real wtf in recent decades has been that Brussels is a perfect scapegoat: as a national politician you can go to the European Council and promote what have you; EC and EP pick it up and deliver; and then you can turn around and tell voters "see it's Brussel's fault" because national newspapers aren't reporting enough on what's going on in the EU.

And just to be clear, this is nothing new. It already was a problem 20 years ago. And insofar as I've been made aware by the law teachers I had back then, 40 years ago as well.


*vote, not election, pardon

The Brexit vote happened to precede a period of sustained global growth, mostly throughout the year 2017, which overshadowed its economic implications. Despite that, UK GDP growth lagged behind other developed countries but it was not enough for the UK citizens opinion to change.

As soon as it starts biting people's pockets, which might happen pretty soon according to Central banks/IMF economic forecasts, I believe a new referendum will be called and the decision will be reversed.

There might not be time for that to happen though.


No deal looks increasingly on the table, what I fear most is it forces another general election that brings a party like ukip back to the fore. It is in both parties interests to vote for a deal, but their selfish bickering has already seen a fracture in labour and you could see more splitters and divided coalition parties building an alliance with ukip to get a majority

It is in both parties interest to uphold the result of the referendum which was held in 2016, and which they pledged to implement in their election manifestos in 2017, because if new general election comes about, their constituents will remember their betrayal, and then it will be no surprise they will vote for somebody else.

May's deal is not what the people voted for, and so, the house of commons is full of lying politicians who will have exhausted their careers on the gamble that they could stop Brexit from happening.


> It is in both parties interest to uphold the result of the referendum which was held in 2016, and which they pledged to implement in their election manifestos in 2017, because if new general election comes about, their constituents will remember their betrayal

If their constituents viewpoints have moved since 2016/2017, they won't view it as a betrayal; more precisely the concern is that each major party is concerned that their own Leave faction will be more likely to abandon them than Remain-leaning voters outside will be to come over if their party is the one that flips.


I liked the Jon Snow exchange on twitter

Jon Snow (British journalist): "A Lawyer contact tells me that the legal world is aware that the Attorney General said NO last night to the validity of Mrs May's 'new EU deal'...he been told to go away and find a way to say YES: A cohort of lawyers has been summoned"

Attorney General: "Bollocks"


"You know nothing, John Snow."

Oh wow, if we vote NO two more times this.. could all be over? Ia this real? Could it truly finally end?

I've had the feeling that the UK won't actually leave the EU for a while, now.

Does it look like that feeling is going to turn to be right, or we just don't know..?


Well there seems to be a majority of MPs against no deal, theres a vote on that tomorrow. So that would mean May going back to the EU to ask for an extension. That would seem most likely to be until May, before the EU elections. I can't see that being more than a temporary date though. Any other option has to take more time than 2 ish months.

That's where my crystal ball goes cloudy.


It's getting closer and closer to a no-deal, and yet the pound doesn't really go down. Does anybody understand why?

No deal Brexit has already been priced in. It's already taken the hit. If anything, a "with deal" Brexit or a withdrawal from the exit process (no exit) will probably make the pound go back up.

It's hard to read the market's mind, but apparently the market doesn't think this is an apocalyptic event, or indeed, ultimately even likely to be that big a deal economically.

There's no guarantee it is correct. But it is worth considering as a data point, keeping in mind its (anthropomorphized) perspective, as well as the other perspectives and where they are coming from as well.

(This includes the predictions of apocalypse. There are many actors who are well motivated to predict that regardless of their own personal beliefs. This doesn't make their predictions false, either. I'm just an advocate of applying "follow the money/motivation" everywhere, even and at times especially to people who agree with your current perspective.)


I think the consensus is they will just extend instead of actually going through a 100% no-deal Brexit. Seems like a fairly safe bet given the UK can do it unilaterally and how bad it would be.

We cannot extend unilaterally. It needs EU's consent and they've already stated that: 1) it won't be free - £1bn/mo has been mooted from various sources, 2) there would be clear legal strings attached such as a requirement for a 2nd referendum, 3) extension would only be allowed up to the day before the EU Parliament elections on 23rd May.

Ah I thought it was extension but from other comments it seems they can just cancel Article 50, my bad. That requirement for a second referendum might be a good thing though, seems like that's the only way out politically (to be forced by an outside force) given how many of the heads party have said a second referendum would tarnish the democratic process (which is BS to me but that's their stance).

Why would the EU allow the UK to extend this one-foot-in-one-foot out nonsense? It's not clear that any deal it is willing to offer will get parliamentary assent.

Because European courts have decided that Article 50 can be unilaterally retracted.

I was under the impression that it can be only unilaterally "retracted" (i.e., cancel brexit), but extending the negotiation required EU's agreement, which already stated that they wouldn't unless there's a concrete plan?

Yes. In practice the UK would have to ask the EU for an extension, or article 50 could be retracted and resubmitted, achieving the same thing. There would be political barriers to doing that so the EU does have some bargaining power.

The EU doesn't want the UK to leave. It would damage their project massively. It might even unravel it entirely if some other countries decide to follow in the UK's footsteps.

If the EU doesn't want the UK to leave, then its best option is the give the UK as much rope as it needs to hang itself, and pray that the UK comes to its senses, instead of giving it more time to negotiate a Brexit that will actually get parliamentary support.

"We'll hold another referendum, and cross our fingers that this time, it will vote remain" isn't exactly satisfying to the EU.


Because either (1) no deal is already priced in, or (2) markets remain confident that the upcoming sequence of votes before them will lead to some other outcome than imminent no deal Brexit.

Theres a vote tomorrow on whether to reject a no deal brexit, the the consensus is that will pass, with the PM presumably asking for an extension, so no deal still isn't a given.

Why should it? I think a no-deal should make it go up.

Because a no-deal exit would do lasting damage to the British economy (this is a fairly uncontroversial point even among Brexit proponents), and a nation's currency tends to track its economy.

I wonder how many currency speculators have just revised their positions against the pound.



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